SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is opening dozens of free coronavirus testing sites in the greater Seoul area amid a surge in infections.
The 718 new cases reported by officials Monday took the country’s total to 43,484, including 587 deaths. About 65% of the new cases were found in the Seoul area, which has been at the center of the recent spike.
The number of new cases marked a drop from the 1,030 reported on Sunday, South Korea’s highest daily tally. But observers say the lower figures were a result of fewer test taken over the weekend and that the country’s caseload is expected to surge again this week.
Starting on Monday, health authorities will open 150 virus testing centers in the Seoul area in phases in addition to more than 210 existing sites as part of efforts to slow down the outbreak.
The new testing sites are scheduled to stay open for three weeks, and anyone can take a free coronavirus test. Previously, people wanting to take diagnostic tests on their own have had to pay if they test negative.
The government says it’s considering enforcing its toughest-level social distancing rules in case the surge continues.